Great Falls City Manager Greg Doyon acknowledged his recent negotiations with the Billings City Council to become the next Billings city administrator at Tuesday's City Commission meeting.
Doyon said he is appreciative to the Billings City Council and wishes them well in securing someone for the position.
He added that he also appreciated the Commission's support.
"When you go through a process like that and you often are able to take a step back and look at what you have and take a look at the folks you work with and so I'm very appreciative of the staff and the commission for being supportive," he said.
Doyon was offered the Billings city administrator position but declined when he was unable to reach an agreement on a proposed salary and benefits package.
The city of Billings released a copy of the letter Doyon wrote informing them of his decision to decline:
December 15, 2017
Mayor Hanel and City Council Members:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment regarding our contract negotiations. W.D. indicated that the sub-committee desired my final thoughts before transmitting its recommendation to the full Council.
Before commenting further, I want to thank the Council for extending an employment offer to me. I was able to visit with Mayor Hanel, Mayor-Elect Cole, and Council Member Brewster after the announcement and share my appreciation directly. I hope that my sentiment was passed along to the remainder of the Council. If not, please know that the unanimous decision was humbling and appreciated.
I also enjoyed meeting the department head team, city employees, and residents during the interview process. Billings is on the move and it seems that the community has the right mix of professionals at the helm. It would be an honor to work and serve with the people I met.
My understanding is that the sub-committee is willing to make recommendations on elements of a proposed contract, but did not come to agreement on salary. Instead, the sub-committee requested I provide further “input” before submitting their findings to the full City Council this coming Monday. In other words, although some members have been vocal about wages, there is currently no majority agreement on a starting salary.
Some of these comments include that applicants should have known what the salary range was when they applied. The City’s recruitment brochure stated in part:
The starting annual salary for the City Administrator position for the City of Billings will be market competitive depending upon the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. The current administrator is paid $155,000. An excellent fringe benefit plan, including car allowance, life insurance and a defined compensation contribution, will be provided as well. Reasonable relocation expense reimbursement will be negotiated.
The market information provided to the Council was from reliable sources (ICMA, direct calls) upon the request of the city’s recruiter. I willingly provided it in order to assist the Council with its deliberations.
I appreciate the time and effort that the Council members have spent with the recruitment process and negotiations. However, if the sub-committee cannot come to a consensus on wages at its level, I do not believe there will be agreement at the full Council level either.
I am truly grateful for the offer to lead Billings as its next city administrator, but I am not in a position to accept an overall compensation package that is less than market competitive. I do not come to this conclusion lightly. I am sure you all understand that I need to do what is best for my family and our future.
When deciding whether to take a new city management position, it is about more than just the compensation package. For the candidate, it is also about observing how the elected officials who he/she will work for, recruits and retains its leadership. While the Council made a unanimous decision to offer me the job, I have not seen that support translate into an employment agreement appropriate for the position.
As such, I respectfully decline the employment offer. I am disappointed that we could not reach mutually agreeable terms for a full Council vote, but understand that there are other capable candidates ready to accept the position.
Thank you again and I wish the best for Billings.